GSAPP Faculty Projects + Publications

MPA’s model of the Elmhurst Public Library (Queens, NYC), to be completed in six months, is on display at Columbia University in the 400 Level Gallery of Avery Hall, as part of an exhibition of faculty projects and publications. The new 30,000 sf building addresses the complex urban situation created by a 15-story apartment building that had obscured the site’s historical park, by re-establishing the institution’s visibility on Broadway. The project is the largest building realized by a small firm within the DDC’s Design and Construction Design Excellence Program.


The Killer Assessment

Two Fifth Avenue was featured in the Sunday edition of The New York Times’ Real Estate section: The Killer Assessment MPA was involved in refurbishing the forecourt, lobby, and elevators.

The facade is fixed now, but not long ago, bulging bricks spelled trouble for 2 Fifth Avenue, between Washington Square North and West Eighth Street.

Two Fifth Avenue, designed in white brick by the firm of Emery Roth & Sons, was completed in 1951. Its facade, all 900,000 bricks, was replaced after a $30.7 million assessment.

After the facade was replaced at Two Fifth Ave, money left over went to refurbishing the elevators, the entrance and the lobby.


Green roofs take urban gardening to new heights

Whitcomb Roof Terrace was featured in the WSJ’s MANSION: Lavish Gardens Sprout Up on Luxury Penthouse Roofs

David and Henrie Whitcomb’s vertical garden redeemed a chunk of unusable space on their 2,500-square-foot wraparound terrace in New York’s Greenwich Village. Their penthouse, which public records show was purchased for $8.7 million in 2007, had “a great big 15-foot-high, 15-foot-wide ugly tan brick wall” that ruined the view from the master bedroom, said Mr. Whitcomb, who founded Automated Trading Desk, one of the first high-frequency trading firms.

The Whitcombs, who own a second home in Hawaii, couldn’t tear down the wall: It is the 1928 building’s chimney. So they transformed the eyesore into the centerpiece of their terrace garden, which also features a grove of Japanese maple, gray birch and serviceberry trees, and an evergreen that can be pushed on a built-in track to a prime spot at their living room window at Christmas.

During the 26-month remodeling project, the Whitcombs’ architect, John Tinmouth, and landscape architect, Linda Pollak, designed a wall of panels with a water feature and recessed slots for 600 plants to bracket to the chimney. Future Green Studio, a New York-based firm specializing in green roofs and green walls, embedded the panels with ornamental grasses and trailing plants in shades of green, silver and purple. The plants are watered by a drip irrigation system.


Bronx Lab: Performing the Library

An exhibition is currently on display at the Bronx Museum (May 1-31 2014) about a 3-week university-level studio entitled “Performing the Library,” held in the Summer of 2013 at the University Institute of Architecture in Venice, under the direction of Sandro Marpillero. The studio was part of the initiative Workshop Architecture Venice (W.A.VE) with the goal of exploring new notions of the library in the context of processes of industrialization and de-industrialization of Porto Marghera, the industrial periphery of Venice.

The workshop relied on preparatory studies conducted by teens from the Bronx/NY and Mestre/VE (coordinated by the Bronx Museum’s Teen Council and the Guggenheim Foundation in Venice), which explored new self-expressive identities and contemporary modes of communication.

Bronx Lab: Performing the Library Exhibition


Elmhurst Library Topping Out Ceremony

The New York Real Estate Journal Network covered the topping-out ceremony of Elmhurst Library. “Elmhurst is a thriving neighborhood that needs a state-of-the-art library to support education, job growth, and intellectual development. The new design by award-winning Marpillero Pollak Architects will combine all the library features the community deserves while paying homage to the library’s legacy in Elmhurst,” said Galante, Queens Library’s president and CEO.

NYREJ’s Coverage of the Topping-Out Ceremony


Recycling Terminal Iron Works

An installation about the Bolton Landing Studio Residence Renovation project is currently on view at the Exhibition “Erasmus Effect – Italian Architects Abroad” at the National Museum of 21st Century Arts, in Rome (Italy), from early December 2013 to the end of April 2014. MPA’s work, “Recycling Terminal Iron Works” includes a large scale model, a video, and a display of dried leaves collected on site in the fall of 2013. The installation, facing Lot-tek’s sliced containers with videos of the Erasmus Generation, points towards a world’s map and a time-line indicating the locations in which Italian architects have established their practices between 1860 and today. It is positioned mid-way in Gallery 1, on and in front of a display shelf with models by, among others, Paolo Soleri, Piano & Rogers, Massimiliaio Fuskas, EMBT, and Elisabetta Terragni.

For more information on the exhibit, ERASMUS EFFECT.


About MPA

MPA’s multidisciplinary design practice, rooted in the strengths and sensibilities of its partners, spans architecture, landscape, and urban design, enabling us to mine the rich and often unseen potentials of a project and site.

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